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DrakeParkDrake Park

951 Maine Ave.
(562) 570-1625
(6.6 acres)

Information

Hours:
Monday - Friday: 3 - 6pm.

Amenities

Basketball Court, Community Center, Handball/Racquetball Court, Picnic Area, Playground, Soccer field, Softball Field, Tennis Court, Volleyball Court, Restrooms 

Programs
Youth Recreation, homework help & adult classes

History

This park is located west of Maine Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets. Col. Charles R. Drake, the one time operator of the old Virginia Hotel, president of the Long Beach Amusement Company and developer of the bathhouse on the Amusement Company site, donated the original 1.86 acres. On January 11, 1904, the park was deeded to the City and called Knoll Park. At that time Col. Drake was president of the Seaside Water Company that deeded the park to the City, and restricted the land to park use. The donor had maintained this property for years as a private park before turning it over to the City.

In 1972, the park was expanded, with federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The expansion included the acquisition and clearance of one and one half blocks of the neighborhood. It also included the vacation of the Park Circle Drive around the park, and St. James Place, one of two short streets radiating from Park Circle. The expansion also included a baseball diamond, a handball court, a volleyball court and two lighted tennis courts.The site was originally a semi-circle in shape with a base along Maine Avenue, and Park Circle Drive defining the half circle west of Maine Avenue. It was a passive park with ornamental light standards. Benches lined the walks and restrooms were provided. No date has been found for the renaming of the park after Col. Drake, but it is assumed it followed his death in 1928. In August 1939, approval was given to convert the circular rose garden in the center of the park into a playground. Construction of a clubhouse and enlarged play area started in October of 1949. That same year, a sprinkler system and restrooms were completed.

The historic Bembridge House is located adjacent to the park's northeast edge. Owned by the Long Beach Heritage Coalition, it is often confused as part of the park as tennis courts wrap around the house on the west. In the 1990's, improvements were made with Los Angeles County Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond Act of 1992 funds, including new lighting, baseball diamond improvements, and new play equipment and park benches. Two gazebos were added in the early 2000's to shelter students who were bused from the site. The baseball diamond was converted to a soccer field, and the volleyball court converted to a roller hockey court and then a skate plaza.

In 2009, the redevelopment of Drake Park is being considered in combination with development of the Drake/Chavez Greenbelt. Drake Park would convert back to a passive park, and active uses including the community center, handball court, skate plaza and soccer field would be relocated to the greenbelt

Map to the Park